Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

New year, lingering questions

26th December 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis

It’s just days before a New Year begins but there are still lingering questions from 2012 that deserve answers. It is clear that the powers that be have no intention of providing answers to questions that could potentially shed light on the conditions under which oppressed people have been forced to live so it’s up to us to demand answers. After all, the late Frederick Douglass taught us that “power concedes nothing without a demand — it never did and it never will.”

In the spirit of Frederick Douglass and all those African men and women who devoted their lives to the liberation of the Black masses Africa and in the Diaspora, let’s jump right in:

• How many Black, brown, red, yellow or white elected officials on the local, state or federal level consistently take an uncompromised stand for justice, democracy and equal protection under the law for all of New Orleans’s residents, including Blacks and low-income residents?

• How much use to the people of New Orleans are Democratic elected officials, particularly long-serving politicians, who have repeatedly demonstrated that they have no backbone, courage, principles, integrity or a commitment to public service and fighting for justice?

• If former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten had been appointed by a Democratic president, would he have been more likely to launch a federal probe of Louisiana Gov. Piyush Jindal and State Education Supt. John White’s handling of charter schools and vouchers?

• How many Louisiana residents whose loved ones are going to be adversely affected by Gov. Piyush Jindal’s cuts to hospitals, mental health and his refusal to utilize federal dollars to provide better medical care for the state’s poorest residents will vote for him in the future whether he is running for president, senator or dog-catcher?

• Why can’t the City of New Orleans repair streets and sidewalks in the Lower Ninth Ward, Eastern New Orleans and other neighborhood streets off the main thoroughfares of the city in the same manner it is getting new streets, sidewalks and a streetcar line just in time for the 2013 Super Bowl?

• Why does the City of New Orleans continue to insult the intelligence of residents by pretending to hold forums and panel discussions about various issues of importance like the demolition of the Claiborne Overpass, the raising of Sewerage & Water Board rates and the razing of a historically Black Mid-City neighborhood to make way for a biomedical complex when in fact the Landrieu administration has already made those final decisions?

• Why do so few scholars and administrators from the city’s HBCUs and other institutions of higher learning have little or nothing to say about the Landrieu administration’s questionable decisions to reduce the civil-service workforce, undermine the ability of the city’s taxicab drivers to earn a decent living and generally making life harder for poor and working-class families?

• How’s that whole Save Our Sons and NOLA For Life thing working out?

• If former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s successor decides to clean house and bring in a lot of his own people to the Eastern District of Louisiana, how likely is it that he or she will be successfully sued the way former U.S. Attorney and Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan was?

• If so many former NOPD officers don’t think they can get a fair trial in New Orleans, why would they even bother to take jobs in a city where so many residents have such low regard for them?

• What’s the real reason city officials waited until recently to disclose that human remains have been found in the Iberville housing development, as if it never occurred to anyone with a knowledge of the city’s history and culture that this highly coveted tract of land in the Central Business District might have a deeper significance for some of the city’s residents?

• Now that fellow GOP members have jumped ship on House Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B, what is he going to do next to further enrage and humiliate conservative U.S. voters who actually thought Boehner had a foolproof plan?

• Is anyone surprised that the former NOPD cops convicted in the Danziger Bridge killings and the murder of Henry Glover don’t think they deserve to spend another day in jail?

• With downtown condos, pricey stores opening on Canal Street, urban gentrification in Treme and other neighborhoods, hikes in the cost of living in the city and drastic cuts in opportunities for people of color to find gainful employment, isn’t New Orleans looking a lot like Johannesburg, South Africa, one of the premier cities in that country where a small white minority ruled over tens of millions of Black South Africans?

• When are we going to begin a young group of African-centered, politically and socially conscious Black leaders to undo all of the damage the current so-called leaders have done in communities of color?

• Who made it a crime to be Black and proud?

• What personal meaning does “kujichagulia” have for you?

This article was originally published in the December 24, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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